Penny Hospitality will expand its presence on Hutt Street through the revamping of an abandoned Hutt Street lot into a food, wine, coffee and retail hub.

The abandoned Caltex and NAB building on Hutt Street is the latest location set for a Penny Hospitality refurbishment, with the plot set to become home to a café, wine bar and cycling store.

Set to open in 2023, The Forecourt will add to Penny Hospitality’s already expansive city presence. The company’s managing director, Hugo Pedler, says he hopes for the location to become a “community hub”.

The old service station will become The Forecourt Food & Wine, a café and wine bar that will also host food trucks and market stalls.

Across the way, the former NAB building is set to become Contour, a cycling retail store with a café frontage – a project that has been a long-held dream for Hugo.

“It’s been a really exciting passion project for me since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” he says.

Though Contour will sell cycling gear, Hugo hopes it will be seen as more than a strictly commercial space.

“What we’re trying to deliver with Contour is not just to create a bike shop to sell bikes and sell apparel, but really what we’re trying to do is build a community here,” he says.

Hugo, who has cycled his whole life, says he’s been playing with the idea for four years but started to take it seriously in the last two.

“We had a site that was on the Parade that we looked at about two years ago,” he explains.

“We worked really hard to develop the concept for that and it ended up falling through.

“It’s so important that the site is in the right location and has the right kind of fit.”

Having met the landlords of the old Hutt Street Caltex site, Hugo found a workable site.

“It’s not every day that you find a 3000-metre-square lot in the middle of the CBD,” he says.

“I thought it was the absolute perfect site to do this… community-minded concept where we can really integrate cycling and food and beverage all into one space.”

Penny Hospitality has been based out of the NAB building for a little while now, and the company recently took over the General Havelock a little way up the road. Hugo says this activity is contributing to an already strong business community in the area.

“There’s some great traders here already, and we’re really trying to build on what is here, to bring more people to the street,” he says.

“The focus point of what we’re doing is definitely community-minded, and to bring more people to the area, but it’s a natural thing that happens when you can work with other great traders.”

The Forecourt is set to open in 2023. Stay up to date with the project via Instagram.

Words: Sophie Holder
Image: Johnny von Einem